Chicago reedists Jason Stein and Greg Ward front a dynamic collective with New York’s Eric Revis and Jim Black | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chicago reedists Jason Stein and Greg Ward front a dynamic collective with New York’s Eric Revis and Jim Black

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Bass clarinetist Jason Stein spent a good chunk of last year and most of 2016 playing large theaters and basketball arenas with his scrappy trio Locksmith Isidore as the opening act for his half-sister, comedian and actor Amy Schumer. Since then he’s gone back to playing more modest stages, but his latest music is bigger than ever. In September, he dropped one of the strongest albums of his career, Lucille! (Delmark), a spry quartet recording built around his interplay with reedist Keefe Jackson. This weekend he’s debuting a beguiling new collective with some of the strongest, most idiosyncratic figures in improvised music. On the front line he’s joined by alto saxophonist Greg Ward, one of the greatest reedists at work anywhere—let alone here in Chicago—whose soulful, sweet tones promise a distinctivep contrast with the tang of Stein’s instrument. The powerful rhythm section pairs protean bassist Eric Revis—a longtime member of the Branford Marsalis Quartet who also works with outward-bound folks like Ken Vandermark, Kris Davis, and Aruán Ortiz—and drummer Jim Black, an instantly recognizable percussionist who’s turned surface slackness into a calling card. I’m eager to hear how their muscle and elasticity will propel and cushion the horns, and how the writing styles of the four musicians will coalesce.   v

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